University of Calgary

Agreement marks milestone in education research collaboration

UToday HomeApril 16, 2013

By Clayton MacGillivray

Gene Williams, assistant deputy minister, Alberta Education, and Faculty of Education Dean Dennis Sumara, with Alberta School Authority representatives who signed the Partner Research Schools memorandum of understanding.Gene Williams, assistant deputy minister, Alberta Education, and Faculty of Education Dean Dennis Sumara, with Alberta School Authority representatives who signed the Partner Research Schools memorandum of understanding.On April 10, the Faculty of Education signed a memorandum of agreement with eight school authorities, formalizing its commitment to ensure that Alberta schools and school authorities have opportunities to develop research initiatives in partnership with the University of Calgary, other school authorities and the greater community.

The Partner Research Schools initiative is a dynamic collaboration among schools, communities, and universities to lead innovation through research-active inquiry and practice.

“The signing of the agreement signals a deep commitment to collaboration research across K-20 to lead innovations in learning, teaching and leading,” says Sharon Friesen, vice- dean of education.

“This initiative aligns with the Education Research Framework document that was ratified in 2011 by the education research partnership committee and is guided by the Inspiring Education document,” adds Cynthia Prasow, interim associate dean of the undergraduate program.

In addition, signatories commit to ensuring that Alberta schools have access to well-prepared teachers,  practicing teachers have opportunities to continually strengthen their practice through research activities, and that researchers have opportunities to examine and study educational practice.

“The significance of the agreement is that we are formalizing what may have occurred already within schools and our faculty, it provides more focus or potential for the kinds of research partnerships that are possible.”

One such research partnership is the Math Minds initiative at St. Rita School, which aims to strengthen numeracy among K-6 students.  Math Minds is working to deepen teachers’ own understanding of math and math instruction by creating a teachers’ network focused on math and sharing the most recent research on elementary math instruction and student learning.

So, what is the next step in the venture?

“Each school authority can promote the Partner Research School initiatives and we have letters of intent that prospective school boards and faculty can sign indicating what research they would potentially like to get involved in.  The director of the Partner Research Schools can then work with the faculty to make a match.”

The school authorities that formally signed the agreement are the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Girls’ School, Calgary Science School, Calgary Separate School District, Foothills School Division, Rocky View Schools, Golden Hills School Division and Westmount Charter School.

“This is a very exciting partnership that heightens awareness of the collaboration and innovative research projects that are presently and will continue to occur within our schools and our university,” says Prasow, adding, “The agreement truly supports the University of Calgary’s commitment to connect with the community in a very meaningful way.”

 

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